One-Minute Book Reviews

September 24, 2008

Late Night With Jan Harayda – Is Curtis Sittenfeld Courting a Bad Sex in Fiction Award?

Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep held my attention, but the best thing about the novel may have that picture of a pink grosgrain belt on the dust jacket, one of the most effective cover images of the decade. So I was in no rush to read Sittenfeld’s fictionalization of the life of Laura Bush, American Wife.

Then I read this line in Sam Anderson’s review of the book in New York magazine: “While the novel is occasionally funny (and sometimes, in its sex scenes, unintentionally hilarious), it is far from political satire”

Sounds as though Sittenfeld is courting one of those delightful Bad Sex in Fiction Awards from the Literary Review, doesn’t it? And do I want to miss a contender for one of the few literary prizes that I regard as a true service to humanity? Let’s just say: I put my name on the waiting list at the library.

The editors of the Literary Review will announce the 2008 Bad Sex longlist in November, and if you can’t wait, you can read about the 2007 longlist (which included Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach) here You’ll find a link to all the passages that eventually made the shortlist here

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.


  1. “Let’s just say: I put my name on the waiting list at the library.”

    Hooray! I’ve been hoping you would review it. I thought Prep was painfully true-to-life (emphasis on the painful) and I’m not sure I can handle too many politically-themed books right now, but I know your review will be entertaining and dead-on. Looking forward to it.

    (By the way, I finished Chalked Up. I felt a bit queasy reading it, but I was fascinated by the realities of the sport, and how truly dangerous it was day in and day out.)

    Comment by sarahsk — September 25, 2008 @ 7:40 pm | Reply

  2. “Queasy” is an excellent word for how “Chalked Up” makes you feel. I also felt that way when I read about the body in the outhouse in “The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher,” which I admire and am still planning to review soon.

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — September 25, 2008 @ 9:29 pm | Reply

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